Welcome to the Family Self-Sufficiency Program
The Family Self-Sufficiency program works with support agencies throughout Butte County to help families develop strengths, skills and experiences necessary to achieve economic independence. As you read this guidebook, you will learn how the program can benefit you and your family. The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program is a team effort involving your family, the FSS Coordinator, and the job training, educational and social service agencies who will lend you a hand along your journey towards a more productive and fulfilling life.
What is the Family Self-Sufficiency Program?Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is an initiative enacted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a part of the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990. The program assists Housing Choice Voucher families achieve economic independence. The FSS program links participants with the education, job training, counseling, and other services necessary for them to become employed and to earn self-sufficient wages so they no longer need to rely on governmental financial assistance.
You may want to think of the FSS program as a bridge that will help your family overcome obstacles you encounter in your journey towards self-sufficiency.
First your family will develop a blueprint for its bridge with the help of the FSS Coordinator. This blueprint is called an Individual Training and Service Plan (ITSP) and outlines the steps your family will take to achieve the earning power needed to be self-supporting. Other agencies who work with the FSS families, such as schools, social service agencies, and job training programs, act as the supports that will make your bridge strong enough to stand against the challenges you will face. The FSS Coordinator solidly bolts your supports together by helping you find and connect all the many parts of your family's bridge to self-sufficiency.
The final and most important part of the Family Self-Sufficiency program is YOU! You and your family must have the desire and determination to attack obstacles in your path and cross your bridge to the brighter future that is waiting on the road to self-sufficiency.
How Can You Benefit from FSS?The FSS program allows participants to take advantage of schooling, training, and to gain work experience, while receiving housing assistance. The FSS Coordinator works with each family to develop a plan to learn the skills that will lead to increased earning power. The FSS Coordinator helps families access the training and education, counseling, and job opportunities they need to accomplish their goals. Participants may be referred to Lifelines for financial assistance with education, transportation and other barriers to self-sufficiency.
In addition to this assistance, the Housing Authority of the County of Butte will set aside money in an escrow account for employed FSS participants who begin to pay a larger portion of their rent due to their increase in earned income. Successful FSS graduates have used their escrow funds to purchase a home, a new car or to continue their education.
What Do You Have to Do?Attending the FSS Orientation is the first step towards participation in the program. Secondly, interested families must complete and turn in a Tenant Profile to the FSS Coordinator. The third step is for the family to meet with the FSS Coordinator to determine what the family will need to increase its earning power and become self-supporting. The FSS Coordinator may ask the family members to complete assignments to help clarify the family's needs. The family may be asked to complete a job assessment and/or obtain a credit report prior to admission to the program. These assignments and assessments will help the FSS Coordinator and the family tailor a plan for the family's specific situation.
Finally, if accepted into the program, the Head of Household must sign a five-year FSS Contract of Participation and design an Individual Training and Service Plan (ITSP) that outlines the steps needed for the family to become self-supporting. The head of household is the only person who must have an ITSP, but other family members are welcomed to take advantage of the services provided by the FSS Coordinator to develop an ITSP. All family members with an ITSP must stay in contact with the FSS Coordinator throughout the five years of the Contract of Participation and notify the FSS Coordinator before moving, quitting a job, or if there are any changes in family status or income. Of course, FSS families must follow all Housing Choice Voucher regulations and comply with their lease terms. Families who do not fulfill their Family Obligations in the Housing Choice Voucher Program may be terminated from the FSS program.
How Do You Get Your Escrow Money?There are two ways to graduate successfully from the FSS program. To receive the funds in the escrow account, the family must do one of the following by the end of the five-year FSS contract:
Graduation Method #1
The family completes all goals set in the Individual Training and Service Plan (ITSP).
Family members do not receive any cash aid (such as TANF or General Assistance) during the last twelve months of the FSS contract.
The Head of Household is suitably employed.
Graduation Method #2
The family's income increases to the point that the family is no longer eligible for housing assistance.
Family members do not receive any cash aid (such as TANF and General Assistance) at the time of graduation.
The Head of Household is suitably employed.
How Can I Learn More About the FSS Program?
For program information call 530-895-4474 or feel free to access the on-line quarterly Family Self-Sufficiency Newsletter.